Expert panel recommends exotic animal ban in NC

Jan 29, 2007 12:54 PM EST

WILMINGTON – Lions and tigers and bears are just a few of the exotic animals living at the Tregembo Animal Park on Carolina Beach Road.

But once those animals die, you may not see their species in this area again.

A panel of experts meeting at the request of state lawmakers recommends banning certain exotic animals.

They say they’re too dangerous for private zoos like Tregembo, or for use as pets. Animals already owned by private zoos or owners would be exempt.

The issue goes to the legislature in the next two weeks.

If the recommendation is made law, monkeys and other animals would have to be fixed so they could not breed.

“They would have to be spayed or neutered, whichever, and micro-chipped also, so they can make sure you’re not changing out animals for younger animals,” said Robert Tregembo, owner of Tregembo Animal Park. “And when the animals pass away from old age, you cannot replace them. No more monkeys, no more lions, tigers, bears.”

But at least one zoo is exempt: the state zoo in Asheboro.

“The state zoo is running this board and so they exempted their own self and said we’re not exempted,” said Pat Faircloth, owner of a zoo in Chadbourn.

But Faircloth’s zoo and Tregembo follow the same regulations as the state zoo, Faircloth said.

“The USDA regulates us. We follow the exact same guidelines,” he said. “We are inspected by the same woman with the USDA that inspects the North Carolina zoo, so they follow the same guidelines as we do or are following the same as they do, but ours, they claim, are not up to par.”

Reported by Kacey Gaumer

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